I saw a television commercial the other day that stuck with me. The spot, which featured children laughing and shouting “thanks for giving,” was meant to convey the good we do when we shop at this particular retail spot because a percentage of the money we spend goes to vaccinate children who have limited access to healthcare. This company’s goal was to make it easy for us to help others, almost a natural extension of what we would normally do.
“Thanks for giving.” I really like that fractured English language version of Thanksgiving and that approach to giving back. It is imbued in the Ironwood culture. Work hard, do well, take time to do what you enjoy and give back.
I’m truly proud to be able to say that so many of our people have jumped in to do just that in 2016 and have continued traditions from past years as well. What’s fun is that people are getting involved in so many different ways, from giving their time to advise people who are just starting out with their own business, to participating in an award-winning project that is putting prosthetic hands on amputees in developing countries, to mentoring our interns every single day or spinning themselves silly on a Sunday morning to raise money for United Way.
When I reflect on 2016 I can honestly say I’m far from a saint, but I do try to set a good example for my Ironwood colleagues. This past summer I had a lot of fun being part of RAGBRAI for the fifth year in a row. It’s a selfish pleasure that allows me to get away with my buds and challenge myself – but not too much. Every year my summer getaway also serves as a fundraiser for AIDS Orphan Care, a small Lesotho-based charity that cares for kids who have lost their parents to AIDS. I’d do the ride anyway, but the benefit that accrues from my involvement is multiplied so many times over that I am pretty much guilt-free, no matter how much fun I have!
The simple statement shared in the thank you letter my wife Karen and I received this year really resonated. “Imagine being an orphan in a small village in southern Africa and realizing that, on the other side of the world, someone cares for you.” Or, re-stated, “Thanks for giving.”
I am a lucky man to be able to do what I love and feel good about it, and to work with others who do the same. I am grateful for that blessing.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.